Making music is fun and the only thing that could make it even better is making your own DIY musical instruments with your kids. These instruments are all simple, kid-friendly creations and lend themselves to coloring, pasting and making one-of-a-kind instruments that your kids will love to play.
Read on to see our favorite DIY instruments for kids and musical activities and songs to go with each one!
Music Glasses Xylophone
While most DIY instruments are great for playing games with rhythm and beat, this unique homemade instrument will introduce your child to pitch in a fun and colorful way.
To create a music glass xylophone set out 8 mason jars (or glass bottles of the same size, or even plastic bottles with lids will work if you’re worried about spilling but the sound is better with glass).
Fill each mason jar with different amounts of water, starting off with 1/4 cup water for your lowest pitch and then adding a 1/4 cup more for each remaining jar (so 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, 1 1/4 and so on). For fun and interest let your child add a dropper-full of food coloring to each jar, mixing colors to create new ones (music AND science all in one!).
Once you have all 8 jars measured and filled and colored have your child use a wooden spoon to tap the jars and hear the different pitches! Start out with the jars all over the table in no order and see if your child can hear what is the lowest sound and what sound comes next. Watch as they connect how the amount of water determines the pitch!
Learn to play the “Do, Re, Mi” song from “The Sound of Music” using your DIY musical instrument! Your child will enjoy practicing playing a scale and then learning the fun solfege of the song on their bells “Do, Mi, Mi. Mi, Sol, Sol. Re, Fa, Fa, La, Ti, Ti!”
Why We Love this DIY Instrument for Kids:
This instrument leads to so many great musical experiments and with measuring and color theory thrown in, it’s an all-around great activity for any preschool or homeschool! Just like a child is drawn to making sounds on the piano, a homemade xylophone will lead to hours of creativity and experimenting and song creating.
Paper Plate Tambourine
This fun rhythm instrument is perfect for the child who loves to make pretty things. Gather a paper plate for each child and have them fold the plate in half with the bottom of the plate becoming the outside of your tambourine.
Let them decorate the outside of the plate with markers, gems, stickers, you name it (fun idea: this shape lends itself beautifully for coloring the tambourine into a rainbow!).
Use a hole punch to punch holes along the half circle edge of the paper plate, take ribbon to attach individual bells through each hole, tying the ribbon to both hold the folded halves of the paper plate together and to hold the bell in place. You can add as many bells as you would like and see how many bells it takes to make your favorite sound!
Pick a song you like to sing as a family and have your child shake the steady beat on their tambourine while you shake out the melody. Make it fun and laugh if you trip each other up — making music together should be about enjoying playing together, not worrying about getting it right or wrong.
Why We Love This DIY Instrument For Kids:
This instrument makes a lovely sound and since your child will be playing it all day long it’s nice to have the beautiful bells playing. We love how versatile this DIY instrument is, you can learn rhythm, listen for the strong beat in the song and play along, or find the melody and have them shake to the words they sing.
Tin Can Drums
This is another rhythm instrument that is fun to play and makes a unique sound. Wash out tin cans and remove the label (paint the cans together if your child enjoys arts and crafts). Using scissors cut off the skinny neck of an un-inflated latex balloon and wrap the remaining part of the balloon around the top of the can making a snug drum top. Use wooden spoons to beat your drum!
This activity can be made with chip canisters (just use the lid, no balloons needed) or oatmeal canisters! Let them experiment with the different sounds the that can come from the different drums you make together.
Put on a march by John Phillips Sousa and turn yourself into the drum section of the marching band! Kids will love the strong marching beat of Sousa’s music and can march and play around the house like they are in an Independence Day Parade!
Why We Love This DIY Instrument For Kids:
Have you noticed that some kids just like to bang on things? Even the youngest baby loves to hear the sound when her hand smacks on her high chair. These homemade drums give a satisfying sound and let children bang, beat and feel the rhythm they are playing and are fantastic for all ages.
Have you made one of these instruments with your kids? We would love to hear about it! Share your experience and fun activities in the comments!